When I was a kid, a young preacher came through my dad’s church to preach a revival. He was infectious, gregarious, and humorous. He showed a liking to me in our personal time and, even as a boy, I loved watching him preach. But, one particular time, he breached a vein of dogma where he was berating the people for not walking the “straight and narrow” path. After a few nights of this brow-beating, my father pulled him aside and said to him, “A surgeon holds a scalpel in his hand. He can save the patient’s life, or take it. Same tool – two different outcomes. It all depends on his heart.”
I have never forgotten that wisdom. As a wielder of Truth, it has been my constant challenge to not allow my zeal for righteousness, and the Christ-mandated responsibility to disciple my world, to push me into the zone of flesh-driven exasperation leveled at people’s lack of response. This indignation rarely facilitates change. It usually just pushes people further into their vice. Love wins.
It has become the objectionable trend today to put our grievances on social media. Some just put it all out there, nothing disguised. Others try to cloak it in religion and use Scripture to passive-aggressively rebuke those who have wronged them. King Solomon said, “A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.” (1) People can see that we’re holding the scalpel of truth, but there’s blood everywhere, and more people are being harmed than helped.
If I have a challenge brewing in my heart, I will read over it ten different times before I release it. I’ll even subject it to others in my accountability circle. We are “salt and light” (2) and have a call to influence our world, but we must possess the right spirit. The Holy Spirit brings loving correction that leads to repentance and ultimate reconciliation. Or that person will receive judgment from God . . . from God. Corrective discipline exacted by an authority figure is never fun. If it is, something is probably wrong with the leader. But it must be done. And it must be done in love.
My father once told a woman (she blamed her searing treatment of people on being a prophet) that God may have given five ministry gifts to the Church (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers)(3), but He only has one heart – the heart of the Shepherd.
My aim today, as a spiritual guide, is to make myself available to the Father in Heaven to use me in helping those around me grow, to not allow my personal wounds to flow out onto social media, and to bear the “scalpel” with a heart of love and reconciliation that brings healing. I pray the same for you.
- Proverbs 26:9 NLT
- Matthew 5:13 NLT
- Ephesians 4:11 NLT